The Bears Ears Monument Advisory Committee Meeting Enhanced by Virtual Field Tour

Story by Rachel Wootton, Public Affairs Specialist

On October 16, the Bears Ears National Monument Advisory Committee (BENM MAC) took a unique approach to explore the 201,876-acre monument located in southeast Utah.

USFS Wilderness & Recreation Manager Brian Murdoch and BLM Archaeologist Jared Lundell overlook the region just south of the Bears Ears Buttes.
USFS Wilderness & Recreation Manager Brian Murdock and BLM Archaeologist Jared Lundell overlook the region just south of the Bears Ears Buttes during video filming.

The BENM MAC convened online to discuss management of the increasingly popular destination that includes both developed front country and remote backcountry experiences.

Originally, the committee would have had a field tour of the monument as a part of the meeting, but when it moved online, they had to explore other options for the field trip. 

“Bears Ears National Monument is an incredible cultural landscape with a rich history and multiple uses,” said Monument Manager Jake Palma. “Field trips are a great tool to better equip the Monument Advisory Committee with the background needed to offer management recommendations to the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service.”

Bears Ears is a jointly managed monument with the US Forest Service. Steady planning and communication between BLM and Forest Service staff preceded a three-day video shoot at numerous locations throughout the monument.

For the BLM, Palma, alongside Outdoor Recreation Planner Misti Haines and Archaeologist Jared Lundell, shared messages recorded at different focal areas and locations throughout the monument.

BLM and USFS staff resting on a trail in Bears Ears National Monument. Two are sitting on a large log, two more are standing.
BLM and USFS Staff rest briefly on the trail to a shooting location near Bears Ears

Recreation and Wilderness Manager Brian Murdock and Archaeologist Don Irwin joined the crew from the Forest Service’s Moab and Monticello Ranger Districts for a half-day of shooting in the northern part of the Shash Jáa Unit, located within the Manti-La Sal National Forest. 

“These videos proved highly effective and spurred valuable dialogue among the committee and agency staff to address the opportunities and challenges in the Monument,” said Palma.

The videos helped the MAC understand management priorities and focus areas, as well as get a better feel for the region and its many spectacular sites.

A women in a BLM shirt speaking in front of a brush covered landscape in Bears Ears National Monument.
BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Misti Haines delivers a standup during a segment filmed at the Monarch Cave Dwelling in the Shash Jáa Unit.

A total of four videos ranging from 6-10 minutes in length were produced and can be viewed on the BLM Utah YouTube Channel. More information about BENM and the BENM MAC can be found on

Article and photos by Reyce Knudson, BLM Utah Communications Intern